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Packing for Tropical Travel: Sun Protection, Hydration, and More

Packing for Tropical Travel: Sun Protection, Hydration, and More

Last Updated on September 12, 2023

Embarking on a journey through tropical landscapes is a dream that many travelers share. The allure of vibrant cultures, lush rainforests, and pristine beaches is largely why many adventurers want to explore the wonders of places like South America and Southeast Asia.

However, tropical travel also brings unique challenges, from the scorching sun to sudden downpours of rain. Our previous packing list emphasized the need for careful packing to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. This can mean making an extra purchase of packing cubes from eBags to fit your way too many clothes for an overseas trip. However, travel to the tropics sometimes requires a few more specialized items. If you need help figuring out where to start, here’s an in-depth guide on preparing for exotic destinations.


Begin with a good foundation: a reliable backpack. Opt for a pack that balances size and comfort, like the Osprey Fairview 40l Women’s Backpack. This choice, as we’ve demonstrated through previous travel experiences, provides ample storage without compromising your comfort or mobility, making it ideal for maneuvering through bustling markets in Bangkok or hiking up the iconic Machu Picchu in Peru.


Sun-drenched landscapes and glistening waters are the norm in tropical destinations.dani kayaking halong bay A good pair of sunglasses is about more than just style, though — it’s also important for your health. Intense sunlight can strain your eyes and lead to discomfort. For maximum protection, invest in polarized sunglasses. Choose larger frames to maximize coverage, like the Aviators-style Good Vibrations, and add $40 for tinted lenses with a polarized coating. These will shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce the glare reflecting off the water and other surfaces so that you can safely enjoy sunny spots like the idyllic beaches of Bali.

Rain jacket

Tropical climates are notorious for their unpredictable weather patterns, which can often include sudden rain showers. Having a trustworthy rain jacket on hand is a game-changer. The Outdoor Research Aspire II Gore-Tex Rain Jacket can be used in most climates and seasons. Its combination of waterproofing and breathability ensures you stay dry without feeling stifled in the humid air. This will keep you prepared for any unexpected downpour while exploring the dense rainforests of Costa Rica, for example.

Breathable clothing

When humidity levels soar, your choice of clothing can significantly impact your comfort. Think of quick-drying tank tops, moisture-wicking shorts, and airy dresses. Brands like Columbia and Patagonia offer a range of clothing designed for warm and humid conditions, and they’re light and easy to pack, too.

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Electrolyte tablets

Navigating tropical environments requires good hydration, especially since the combination of high temperatures and humidity in destinations like the Amazon basin can lead to excessive sweating and electrolyte depletion. To stay hydrated and keep your blood pressure regulated, carry electrolyte supplements, such as those from DripDrop ORS or Hi-Lyte. These tablets are convenient to use and will keep you energized throughout your tropical explorations.


Exploring tropical landscapes requires footwear that can handle various terrains. Opt for sturdy yet breathable options such as the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator. These shoes offer excellent traction and support, making them ideal companions for nature hikes and urban adventures.

Mosquito repellent

dani jungleTropical regions often come with the downside of mosquitos and other insects. Protect yourself against severe infections like dengue by packing a reliable mosquito repellent with DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535. Repellents with these ingredients can defend against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bothersome insects, ensuring your nights remain peaceful and uninterrupted. This is especially valuable when exploring destinations that might house insects, like the dense jungles of Borneo.

Embarking on a tropical adventure requires meticulous preparation. Following our packing list will make your journeys through tropical havens around the world memorable and fulfilling and keep you safe and healthy throughout.